Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
Remarks by Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez
U.S.-Poland Business Week
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
New York, New York
As prepared for delivery
Thank you very much for that kind introduction.
I also want to acknowledge Ambassador Feinstein, who has done great work to advance common security and prosperity. And my thanks to the U.S–Poland Business Council, and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for bringing us together today.
It is truly an honor to participate in this inaugural U.S.–Poland Business Week. It’s especially meaningful for me to have this chance to share the stage with Under Secretary Stelmach and Janusz Lewandowski.
And of course, it’s great to be here with all of you: business and government leaders from both our countries. Together, we can enhance and advance the U.S –Polish commercial relationship. This is a goal that I’m firmly committed to.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of traveling to Warsaw to help kick off the U.S.–Poland Business Summit and Roundtable. In fact, I’ve been to Poland on three occasions. And every time I go there, I am so impressed by the progress that’s taken place over the years.
Since 1989, Poland has transformed from a country in economic despair to one that’s become a bright spot in Central Europe. And I’m proud that the U.S. has been a strong partner in Poland’s progress. Yet we all know that there is a great opportunity to take our commercial relationship to the next level, whether it’s directly or through the EU context.
That’s why today is so important. My hope for this forum is that all of us leave here with new ideas about how we can work together, how we can grow together and how we can prosper together
I assure you that the Obama Administration and I are working towards these goals in a number of ways. One way is through increased engagement.
As I mentioned earlier, I was proud to participate in the U.S.–Poland Business Summit and Roundtable. In doing so, we honored the pledge made when President Obama visited Prime Minister Tusk, which is designed to fulfill the great economic promise between our two countries.
At the Summit:
- both governments promoted expansion of bilateral commercial relations;
- businesses presented their views and concerns to government leaders, and began readying further recommendations;
- and we raised public awareness about the importance of this partnership.
As a result of the dialogue — and all the initiatives that resulted from it — we will be able to work more effectively and efficiently to achieve our shared goals: stronger businesses, more jobs, robust growth and brighter futures.
This builds upon other forms of engagement we are involved with, including two Memorandums of Intent signed between my agency — the Department of Commerce — and Poland’s Ministry of Economy, which are designed to, among other things, promote trade.
And that’s important to me as U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade. In this role, I have the privilege of strengthening ties with friends like Poland. And I’m so glad that we are partners for progress. We’re doing great work together.
Last year, bilateral trade was $7.5 billion, up 25% from the previous year. U.S. exports to Poland were over $3 billion, while Polish exports to the U.S. were over $4 billion. And in the bigger picture — over the last ten years — bilateral trade between our two countries has quadrupled.
Obviously, this is great news. From our vantage point, U.S. exports are good for our businesses and economy, which is why President Obama launched the National Export Initiative, with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
We are also proud that U.S. exports are playing a part in helping Poland meet its own goals and aspirations, contributing to sectors ranging from water infrastructure to transportation. And there are still many more possibilities for partnership, whether it’s:
- the modernization of taxiways and runways at Polish airports;
- or diversifying energy supply;
- or the expansion of the Metro line in Warsaw.
At the Department of Commerce, we want to collaborate with our Polish friends to meet these needs. And I hope one of the takeaways from this dialogue is increased trade between our two countries.
Another takeaway I hope for is increased investment. As you all know, it’s one thing to say you support somebody. It’s another thing to put one’s money where one’s mouth is. Well, the U.S. is currently the 6th largest source of direct investment in Poland — with FDI totaling between $12 to $18 billion dollars.
In fact, U.S. companies are among the first and largest business investors in Poland. Clearly, we believe in Poland’s people, business community and future.
In turn, Polish investment in the US is currently $18 million and growing. And we believe there is room for growth — both ways. Please allow me to briefly talk about our SelectUSA initiative.
Housed in the Commerce Department — it’s the first coordinated U.S. government-wide effort to promote and support business investment in the United States. Our staff stands ready to assist potential investors in a number of ways, including helping partners navigate through the regulatory process.
Businesses that invest in the United States enjoy access to a lucrative market; a strong intellectual property rights system; and the benefits of a highly-developed infrastructure.
And I’m proud to say that some of the new businesses investing in the U.S. are from Poland. Back in June, Vivid Games, a video-game company based in Poland, announced plans for a San Francisco office.
In 2011, Sunreef Yachts Charter announced the relocation and expansion of its US operations. The company’s new office is now centrally located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Again, these are companies that have great potential to benefit from investing in the U.S.
We want more of these success stories to be written because they benefit both sides. That’s why I’m happy that Steve Olson — Executive Director of SelectUSA — signed a Memorandum of Intent with the Polish Agency for Foreign Investment.
It will increase collaboration in order to boost bilateral investment. Such measures are good for our businesses, our peoples, and our futures. And I look forward to our two countries working together to make the most of these opportunities.
At this point in my remarks, I’m reminded of the Polish Proverb: “Words must be weighed, not counted.”
I take that to mean that it doesn’t matter how long I speak, it only matters what I say. So I want to close with this.
We want to work with you: the public and private sectors in Poland. We want to continue to build together. We want to continue to prosper together. And we want to continue to increase trade and investment with and in each other.
That’s why it’s so fitting that we’ve come together today here at the New York Stock Exchange. Throughout history, this institution has stood as an international symbol of commerce, creation of new wealth, and opportunity to innovate.
The United States-Poland relationship stands for the same. And I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead. Together, we can ensure that our partnership lives up to all of our greatest hopes for the future.
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